Reflecting consumers' growing interest in seafood, the U.S. FDA established its Office of Seafood in March 1991 to strengthen the agency's domestic and imported seafood programs. Responsibilities of the office include:
In 1991, the FDA initiated a special inspection of the nation's seafood processing plants and other seafood establishments and launched a new inspection program, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).
H.A.C.C.P. in Brief
The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (Hass-ip) program is a state-of-the-art food safety program originally developed for astronauts to ensure safe food in space. A HACCP program identifies critical control points during a processing or handling operation for a food where a hazard, such as cross contamination, might be introduced. Critical control points could include:
HACCP mandates that seafood handlers identify key stages in seafood processing and handling where problems might occur. Companies are required to develop a monitoring system at these "critical control points" to safeguard against potential problems. The goal of the program is "keep it cold, keep it clean, and keep it moving." As part of the HACCP program, seafood processors are required to keep detailed monitoring records of their procedures for review by state and federal inspectors. Companies must also practice strict sanitation standards and maintain monitoring records, both on facility cleanliness and worker hygiene.